As peacebuilders Michael J Sharp (MJ) and Zaida Catalán were willing to risk their lives in order to bring peace to places of violence. While working as United Nations Group of Experts investigating atrocities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2017, they were kidnapped and executed.
No Longer Theory gives us a glimpse of what motivates peacebuilders to enter risky situations. MJ was considered a caring friend despite his elaborate pranks and pushing of boundaries. Zaida grew up knowing she wanted to change the world. She was a humanitarian activist set on making a change for these people. He loved the Congolese people, passionate to be a part of the solutions for people in areas of conflict. Their different motivations led them to a shared passion. Many journalists searched to find out who was at fault following their death. These stories of their roots, their journey to the DRC, and the events leading to their eventual deaths raise new questions: Who were MJ and Zaida? What inspired them to become peacebuilders? How did their upbringing prepare them for the job with the UN? What would it be like to be in their shoes? MJ’s father said “peace-builders should be as willing to risk their lives as those of our friends and neighbors who join the military.” They were not perfect, but that did not stop them from engaging fully in the world around them.